Author Gerður Kristný Receives Jónas Hallgrímsson Award Skip to content
Gerður Kristný Icelandic writer
Photo: Stjórnarráðið. Gerður Kristný accepts the Jónas Hallgrímsson award, 2020.

Author Gerður Kristný Receives Jónas Hallgrímsson Award

Writer Gerður Kristný received the 2020 Jónas Hallgrímsson Award yesterday at a ceremony streamed live from Reykjavík’s Harpa Concert Hall. The award is bestowed annually on November 16, Icelandic Language Day, to an individual for their contributions to the Icelandic language.

Gerður has published books in a variety of genres including poetry, novels, short stories, and children’s literature. She previously worked as a journalist and editor. In 2011, she was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize for her poetry book Blóðhófnir (Bloodhoof). The book and other works of hers have been translated into English, including her poetry collection Sálumessa (En. Reykjavík Requiem) and her fiction work Smartís (Smarties).

In her acceptance speech, Gerður described the Icelandic language as “a friend,” saying she wasn’t concerned about her survival. “I’m very close to her in my work and I am not worried about her, I know that she’s doing fine.” She added, however, that it was important to take care of Icelandic “like everything one cares about. This responsibility has always given me joy. I believe there’s a responsibility in being an Icelandic poet and writing in Icelandic and having written texts that foreigners want to translate into their own language. There are plenty of foreigners who want to translate our books into their languages. We must be doing something right.”

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